Pierce earned her fourth All-Academic award, leading a group of six Pioneer honorees. (Photo: Kelley Cox/KLC Fotos)
The Cal State East Bay water polo team continues to pile up postseason awards, as six Pioneers earned All-Academic honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. On July 25, senior Claire Pierce, juniors Julia Charlesworth and Allison Zell, and freshmen Jennifer Lightbody, Casey Rushforth and Simonne Call were recognized for their efforts in the classroom. This marks the 11th straight year East Bay has placed players on the list.
For the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, the Pioneers also earned the ACWPC All-Academic team award. Collectively, they achieved a team grade point average of 3.04 in 2013.
For the fourth consecutive year, Pierce received the "Outstanding" designation for accumulating a 3.80 GPA in kinesiology. She scored a career-high 95 goals and posted a team-leading 56 steals in her senior year. The Perth, Australia native finished her career as CSUEB's all-time leader in career goals, steals and ejections drawn. In addition to being a four-time ACWPC All-Academic honoree, she's also a four-time ACWPC All-American, a four-time All-Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) selection, and a four-time WWPA All-Academic honoree.
Also earning "Oustanding" honors was Lightbody, who was previously a WWPA All-Freshman team selection and WWPA All-Academic honoree. The freshman from Fountain Valley posted a 3.79 GPA as a kinesiology major. She was a significant defensive contributor for the Pioneers, notching 12 goals and 11 steals for the season.
A pair of East Bay freshman collected "Superior" recognition on the All-Academic list, as well. Call's GPA of 3.60 ranked third on the team. The Escondido native tallied 16 assists and 15 steals in the pool for the Pioneers. She was joined on the listed by Rushforth, a Perth, Australia native who scored 10 goals, dished out 19 assists and grabbed 13 steals. Rushforth achieved a 3.44 GPA in kinesiology. Both first-year players were also WWPA All-Academic selections.
A newcomer in 2013, Zell was just behind her Aussie teammate with a GPA of 3.40, which also earned her WWPA All-Academic honors. The transfer from Long Beach City College ranked third on the Pioneers in goals (35) and steals (36) and second in assists (35). She was named to the WWPA All-Tournament team and adds an ACWPC All-Academic "Excellent" honor to her list of awards.
With a 3.34 GPA in kinesiology, Charlesworth earned All-Academic honors for the third straight year, receving an "Excellent" designation. The Anaheim native is also a three-time WWPA All-Academic selection and had a big year in the pool for East Bay, totaling 20 goals, 28 assists and 23 steals.
The six Pioneer honorees were among 26 WWPA student-athletes on the All-Academic list, led by Santa Clara's seven selections. East Bay boasted the second-most, followed by Loyola Marymount with five, UC San Diego with four, Sonoma State with three and Cal State San Bernardino with one.